Handling Hiccups

newborn care

Let’s look back on what we do when we have hiccups; We take several attempts to stop it by drinking water, holding our breath, or a combination of both!

Hiccups can be painful and annoying at times. It is natural for us to feel the same way when we see a baby beginning to hiccup. Our instinct would want to stop it right away. However, baby hiccups are in most cases harmless and do not affect them. Knowing a few techniques to stop them could help you feel better.

Causes of Baby Hiccups

Hiccups in general occur due to contraction in the diaphragm, causing vocal cords to close quickly. Wonder why does it happen in babies? Below are the possible reasons:
– Swallowing air while drinking milk is the most common cause.

– Overfeeding the baby can also cause hiccups.

– When the stomach distends too quickly, it can spark the spasms due to diaphragm’s close proximity to the stomach.

– Gastroesophageal reflux, a common condition in babies also causes frequent hiccups. The condition causes the contents of the baby’s stomach to come back up.
Abdominal pain, spitting up and colic-type behavior are other symptoms. If you feel your baby’s hiccups are caused by reflux it is advised to contact your pediatrician.

How to stop them?

As we said earlier, though hiccups are normal and harmless, it’s a parent’s natural instinct to stop them. You can try the below methods:

– Try out a different feeding position

– Pause feeding until hiccups stop

– Burp the baby to clear out gas in their tummy. An upright position can also help them stop.

– Should hiccups start when not eating, try a pacifier. The sucking action can relax diaphragm enough to stop hiccups.

– Massaging your baby’s back through gentle upward motion rubs can ease muscles, making diaphragm a little easier.

– You can simply wait for the hiccups to stop without any intervention if it doesn’t bother your baby. Most likely your baby would not mind.

How to Prevent Hiccups?

These prevention tips can be useful instead of waiting for hiccups to stop:

– Start feeding sessions just before the baby gets overly hungry and upset. This can prevent the spasms in the diaphragm. A hungry baby is likely to try and eat quickly, increasing the chances of swallowing air or filling up the tummy too quickly.

– Check baby’s latch when breastfeeding. If your baby takes in just the nipple or doesn’t seal her lips around the areola, she may swallow air, leading to hiccups.

– Hold the baby in an upright position if you’re bottle feeding with the bottle tilted at an angle, preventing your little one from swallowing air.

– Slowing the feeding process can stop an overfilled tummy that triggers diaphragm spasms. Pause halfway through a feed to burp your baby.

– For at least 30 minutes after a feeding session, keep the baby in an upright position without bouncing or other active play.

When should you consult a Doctor?

While it is common in babies under 12 months, some hiccup situations can indicate that there’s something else happening. You should check with your pediatrician if you notice the below symptoms:

– Excessive hiccups

– Hiccups that interrupts or bothers the baby’s sleep

– Agitation while hiccups

– Excessive hiccups lasting past 12 months

– Signs of gastroesophageal reflux

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